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Ye Olde Comic Shoppe, 519 Meeting Street (West Columbia): 1980s   20 comments

Posted at 10:53 pm in historic,stores

I didn't read a lot of comics as a kid. I had a stash that was left to me by an older neighbor friend when he moved out of town, and those I read over and over, and when we went to the beach, sometimes I would buy a copy of The Rawhide Kid or Sergeant Rock from the rack at Lachicotts if I had the money, but in general I didn't have the money. Besides, when I got my $3.00 from mowing the lawn, I wanted to spend it on Tom Swift, Rick Brant or Doc Savage.

All that changed in the 80s, when I finally had a little money coming in. Coincidentally, this boom time for me happened about the same time comics went into a major boom. DC was shaking things up with The Crisis on Infinite Earths and Alan Moore was proving with his incredible run on Swamp Thing that comics could be the vehicle for well-written adult horror.

As comics boomed, the distribution model changed from drugstore spinner racks which were indiferently stocked by magazine jobbers and always seemed to miss crucial issues to dedicated comic book stores. At the peak of the boom, Columbia had at least four first run comic stores. There was one on Forest Drive near the Fort Jackson gate, Heroes & Dragons at Boozer Shopping Center, Silver City on Knox Abbot Drive (not at its current location however) and this store, on Meeting Street.

I can't recall now what it was called, but I often checked it on new issue days (I think comics shipments arrived on either Wednesday or Thursday at the time) to see if they had anything I hadn't seen at Silver City (which I considered my main store).

Of course with every boom there is a bust. Comics were hit by a one two punch, first the "black & white" glut and implosion where the market for "indie" (non Marvel/non DC) black and white comics completely collapsed. (Just as an aside, The Teenaged Ninja Mutant Turtles started as an indie b&w comic which was an obvious parody of Frank Miller's work on Daredevil) then second, the industry was gripped by a speculative frenzy based on varient covers for each comic (one comic might be issued with 4 different covers, including gimmicks like embossed or 3-D covers on the theory that that made them "collectible"). Well, of course it turned out that nothing collected by the thousands is worth anything (Action Comics #1 is worth a lot because nobody collected them and almost all of them were thrown out) and the twin busts took out a lot of comic shops. To this day the industry still hasn't fully recovered, and with competition from video games and the Interenet likely never will.

This particular store went into a kind of slow-motion, never acknowledged, bankruptcy. One week I came in to look at the new comics and was told "Oh, the truck didn't come this week", so I browsed last week's leftovers a few minutes and left. When I stopped by the next week, and those were still the only comics there, I understood what was happening: There was not enough money to pay the distributers for new issues, but they weren't going to admit that, and were going to try to sell a few back issues for as long as the rent and utilities were not an issue (which was, I presume, the end of the month).

After the final closing, I think a couple of different operations moved in over the years, but for the last 5 years or so, it's been a tanning store so you can look good in your own superhero costume.

UPDATE 3 Oct 2008: Changed post title to reflect the name "Ye Olde Comic Shoppe" given by "Jim" in the comments. Also changed "Cayce" to "West Columbia"

Written by ted on August 30th, 2008

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20 Responses to 'Ye Olde Comic Shoppe, 519 Meeting Street (West Columbia): 1980s'

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  1. That storefront was also a pet store at one time -- don't know if that was before or after the comics store.

    Ace Comics is a nice little shop that recently moved from Rosewood Drive (now one of Columbia's thousands of "beauty supply stores") to State St. next to a florist.

    Long live Samauri Penguin!

    Dennis

    31 Aug 08 at 6:56 am

  2. Ben and Jerry's? I am dying to know what happened to my favorite ice cream. Can you help?

    Marybeth

    31 Aug 08 at 7:29 am

  3. There was also a comic store on Main street, next to where Manifest used to be. Those cool old houses turned businesses are gone now.

    ChiefDanGeorge

    2 Sep 08 at 7:17 am

  4. To be picky - that's Meeting street in West Columbia, which has undergone a minor revival recently.

    Ironchef

    2 Sep 08 at 7:26 am

  5. I always get confused about where West Columbia and Cayce are and arent'..

    ted

    2 Sep 08 at 9:54 am

  6. You're not the only one. I live in Cayce but if I cross the street I'm in West Columbia.

    MR Bill

    3 Sep 08 at 8:55 am

  7. The Comic store on Main st. was the original Heroes and Dragons. Manifest was right next to it. When the property was sold, Carl Sigeltary (the owner of Manifest) and Chris Foss (the owner of Heroes) looked for a location where they could both be close to each other because their customers shopped both places and each store helped support the other, or so I was told. That's why they both moved out to Boozer Shopping center. Heroes and Dragons was originally in the freestanding building behind Chick-fil-a at Boozer. Both bussiness really took off out there because they got great traffic from I-20 and I-26. Carl, very smartly, sold Manifest as downloading was starting to take over the market. (He and his wife, who owned The Freetimes, moved to Washington State). Chris still owns Heroes and Dragons and is one of the top comicbook "minds" and dealers in the buissness. He hunts down and supplies very high end books to big time collectors. There's no telling how many Action Comics #1 have gone through his hands.
    As a correction: On one post I said that manifest was originally located in 5 points, but I was wrong. The place I'm thinking of was called X Records, and it was not owned by Carl, but it was located about where Harpers is now.

    Hal

    6 Sep 08 at 5:19 pm

  8. FYI - Carl's last name is Singmaster.

    Dennis

    6 Sep 08 at 10:06 pm

  9. I don't remember X Records. I do remember School Kids, Peaches and Papa Jazz in 5 Points (PJ is still there, of course).

    I did shop Manifest on Main some. It was a tiny place where it was hard for 2 people to browse the same section. I found a copy of "88 Lines About 44 Women" there, and a "Gleaming Spires" album. Back when the 2 Live Crew record was banned in SC, they had a copy anyway.

    ted

    6 Sep 08 at 11:03 pm

  10. I think it was called "Comics, Nuff Said" when it was on Main St. next to Manifest, before they renamed the store to Heroes & Dragons and soon after moved to Boozer. Wasn't there a restaurant (the Mayflower or something?) on the other side - that looked like the frying grease had been sticking to the entire building dating back 60 years?

    Dave

    7 Sep 08 at 12:21 pm

  11. Yeah, it was Nuff Said. I know it wasn't Heroes and Dragons when I was going there in the late 80s.

    ChiefDanGeorge

    8 Sep 08 at 8:15 am

  12. Anyone know Papa Jazz's name? He is the guy who started the store. His cartoon likeness is on their sign. He lived a few doors down from me in Eau Claire but I can't remember his name. He is a golf nut who used to caddy professionally.

    Dennis

    8 Sep 08 at 7:43 pm

  13. I don't know, though I'm glad to hear he's still around. He taught me the concept of "middleman" once. I had bought a (the?) "Surfpunks" LP and didn't like it at all so I took it to Papa Jazz to trade it in. He looked at it and said "Nah, I don't think I can sell that", but then another customer looked over our shoulders and said "Hey, I'd buy that for $3.50" whereupon PJ looked at me and said "OK, I'll give you $3.00 credit for it". My mental train was still running on the "trade in album" track so I said "Sure". He handed it to the other guy and said "That'll be $3.50", looked at me and raised his eyebrows..

    ted

    9 Sep 08 at 1:44 am

  14. Tim Smith runs Papa now. I know there was a fella there by the name of Rick early on that I think was partners with Tim, but I have not seen him in probably 10 years or longer.

    Jonathan

    9 Sep 08 at 1:29 pm

  15. I worked at this comic store from when it opened until the day it closed. It was called "Ye Olde Comic Shoppe" (and I always argued that there should have been an extra "e" on Comic...), and it was owned by Lee and Missy B. They had previously run "Silver City II" out on Forest Drive, and, aside from the name, that store had no business relationship with the Silver City on Knox Abbott as long as I worked there. Right after I started working for them, they moved from Forest Drive to this little store, and every time I go past the place, I get a little sad.

    Thanks for remembering us!! :)

    Jim

    3 Oct 08 at 3:50 pm

  16. You're welcome, and thanks for the info -- I'll update the post title with "Ye Olde Comic Shoppe". I remember a comics place on Forest Drive, but didn't recall that it was Silver City II. At the time, I thought it had a rather odd product mix, with a lot more "Americomics/AC comics" than "normal".

    ted

    3 Oct 08 at 4:14 pm

  17. "Papa Jazz" once said his name was "Rich Joseph." Don't know whether that was a first and last name, or first and middle name--but I did here people call him "Rich."

    badger

    7 Jan 09 at 10:40 pm

  18. Yup, Comics Nuff Said was the name. I remember that cool Spiderman sign they had on front. If I remember correctly, Marvel sued or something and they had to take it down. I also remember X Records in five Points. But didn't a Ron Marsh own it? I remember he had about 6 long boxes of comics we used to go through.

    jjt

    30 Mar 09 at 8:15 pm

  19. I practically lived at Comics Nuff Said when I grew up in Columbia in the 80's thru early 90's. There used to be a big Spider-Man mural on the side of the building. It was the first place I learned to get to on my own via the bus at age 11. It closed in maybe 1989 or 1990 (they tore down the building). I went to college and then left S.C. altogether in 1995. That old place remains alive in my memory!

    David Johnson

    20 Jun 11 at 3:05 pm

  20. I got out here a few times, but it was pretty far from home, so not as often as I would have liked. I also went to Comics 'Nuff Said on Main St. and since I've lived mostly on the NE side of town, I did visit Silver City II a good bit but I don't believe they lasted that long. It's good to see how well Heroes and Dragons has done!

    Blaine

    29 Aug 11 at 10:23 am

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